Free Press Journal

Can’t bring back looted Nassak diamond, claims ASI


NASHIK: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has stated that only diplomatic efforts could bring back the ‘Nassak’ diamond, which was looted by the British from Trimbakeshwar Temple in Nashik.

The ASI was replying to Lalita Shinde trustee of Trimbakeshwar Temple, who had requested the department to bring back the diamond. Lalita, who is leading a single woman’s fight to bring back the diamond, said that the diamond belonged to the Trimbakeshwar Diety but had been looted by the British about 200 years back.

“The Nassak diamond, also called ‘Eye of God Shiva’, is an emerald cut blue-white stone weighing 43.38 carats, and was mined from the Amaragiri mine located in Mahbubnagar in the 15 Century, the rough was 89 carat which was cut and belonged to the Mysore kingdom,” Shinde said.

The reply by D N Dimri, director antiquity of ASI stated that ‘ASI can’t do much in the matter as the Antiquities and Art Treasure Act 1972 became operational only from 1976 without retrospective effect. Only diplomatic efforts can be made by the government particularly through the ministry of external affairs which went out of India prior to this period.’

Also Read: Woman fights to bring back Nassak diamond

The then kingdom of Mysore had the diamond which was taken by the Moguls. The Moguls were defeated by the Great Nana Peshwe, who took their treasury and after his success gifted the Trimbakeshwar Temple with a priceless gold crown studded with jewels and the Nassak diamond in the centre during 1725, Lalita claimed and added that the British East India Company looted the Nassak diamond and sold it off to jeweller Rundell and Bridge in 1818.

It changed hands many times and was cut further to its present size of 43.38 carats. Now it belongs to Robert Mouawad museum in Lebanon, a private institution.

Know the jewel

The Nassak Diamond is a large, 43.38 carats (8.676 g) diamond that originated as a larger 89 carat diamond in the 15th century in India.Found in the Amaragiri mine located in Mahbubnagar, Telangana, and originally cut in India, the diamond was the adornment in the Trimbakeshwar Shiva Temple, near Nashik, in the state of Maharashtra, India from at least 1500 to 1817.The British East India Company captured the diamond through the Third Anglo-Maratha War and sold it to British jewellers Rundell and Bridge in 1818. Rundell and Bridge recut the diamond in 1818, after which it made its way into the handle of the 1st Marquess of Westminster’s dress sword.